Today’s blog is a fun one for me! I thought it could be beneficial for someone out there just starting their business to share how I created my business from my college dorm room.
A little disclaimer: I technically started my business when I was a senior in high school, but I had very little in place. So, I consider my real start when I was a freshman in college! I went to college at Winona State University where I studied Advertising, Public Relations, and Photography. Freshman year I lived with an amazing roommate in one of the on-campus dorms. It was here that my business really started to bloom.
How I did it:
My college experience was not like most, and it was not the super fun “experience” you hear everyone rave about. I would go to class, then do my homework, go to my on-campus job, and finally, then I would spend most of my free time working on creating this business. On the weekends, I would drive back to the cities.
When I was back home in the cities I shadowed photographers I had reached out to via Instagram messenger and email. I would follow them along at engagement sessions and weddings (at this time I was only doing seniors and really wanted to get into the bridal world). I learned so much from doing this and is a big reason how I am here today. When I wasn’t shooting or shadowing someone, I was trying to find a CPA, learning how business insurance worked, making my own website DIY style (do not recommend this!), etc. The list could go on and on!
Starting out, I would read blog posts after blog posts from different photographers I looked up to.
I read a lot of Amy and Jordan blogs and Katelyn James’ blogs. If you are a photographer and have not heard of either of them, I highly recommend checking them out. As I mentioned above, I also reached out to other local photographers who I followed on Instagram. From there, I started posting in different Facebook groups and talking to different professors at my university, and slowly but surely I started booking more sessions in the Winona area.
From there, word of mouth and a consistent social media presence, along with continued education has brought me to where I am today. It definitely took a lot of hard work, and there were many times in school where I wished I could just table this business I had created and enjoy the college experience more. Looking back, it was worth every long night, and busy weekend. I wouldn’t trade it for anything!
If I were to go back and give myself any advice, I would say:
- Make time for your family and friends! They are your biggest support system, and your business will always be there waiting for you. Set boundaries and know how much work you can take on.
- Take the time to find your style and your passion. It may take you doing a family session to realize you don’t want to do families.
- Do not compare yourself to others. I know, this sounds very cliche. But, it is true. We all start off somewhere, and that does not look the same for everyone. I would look at all of these accounts I followed who have been doing this for years and wonder ‘why am I not there yet?’ and that only took my focus away from where I was and all that I had already accomplished.
For a complete list of all the tools and resources, I use every day to run my business, click here!